15 Curious Literary Terms

This week’s post is dedicated to curious literary terms that might be of interest to my fellow authors and readers. They are presented in alphabetical order.

Bibliognost a person who has a comprehensive knowledge of books and bibliography.

Bibliosmia a fetishism, which entails the compulsion to smell books, particularly old books.

Bibliotaph — people who hide their book collections. These obsessive types often fear their books being ‘borrowed’ by others and not returned.

Boghandler — Danish word for ‘bookseller’.

Book Stack

Bouquinist — a person who deals in old books of little value.

Fabliau — a humorous and course short story relayed in verse, usually entailing sexual intrigue and/or pranks. They are chiefly found in early French poetry.

Flyting — a contest consisting of the exchange of insults conducted in verse between two parties, usually poets.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia — the fear of long words.

Librocubicultarist — people who read in bed. This literary slang term is yet to be included in the dictionary, but it is surely only a matter of time.

Omnilegent — someone who has read extensively/is well acquainted with a great amount of literature.


Rhapsodomancy — is the practice of predicting the future by picking a passage of poetry at random.

Scripturient — this outdated term refers to someone who has a strong urge to write.

Sesquipedalian — a person who is prone to using overly long words. (e.g. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia).

Stichomancy — predicting the future from lines of verse chosen from random books.

Tsundoku — a Japanese word for the condition that is acquiring lots of books and then not getting round to reading them.

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